The Living End

Author: Robert Dunstan

Last year was a big one for Australian rock trio The Living End as they toured Europe and the US under their own steam, did some shows in America as special guests of Midnight Oil and then came home to do another show with that band.

This year also promises to be another huge one for the band as they will kick it off by headlining a series of A Day On The Green concerts alongside American band Veruca Salt with Spiderbait, Tumbleweed and The Fauves being on the huge rock bill.

BSide Magazine chatted over the telephone late last year to drummer Andy Strachan while he was taking a break from a rehearsal.

“Yeah, we’re doing a gig for the NRL guys,” he says. “Funny thing is, I don’t know much about NRL and it’s a Triple M kind of thing. But we did a morning show for the AFL the other day.”

As Andy hails from South Australia – he was born and raised in Christies Beach and has now moved back after 25 years in Melbourne – we briefly discussed how NRL never took off in this state despite some major attempts before moving onto more relevant topics such as A Day On The Green.

“It’s an epic line-up and it’s going to be so much fun,” he suggests. “I’m really looking forward to it because it’s like a Big Day Out line-up. And, as that doesn’t exist anymore, it seems like the A Day On The Green guys have grabbed the concept.

“It’s also punter-friendly,” Andy enthuses. “It’s pretty relaxed and casual and we haven’t done A Day On The Green in Adelaide before although we’ve done a couple of interstate ones. And McLaren Vale is just such a beautiful spot with, arguably, the best wine in the world.”

“And I haven’t seen The Fauves for years,” he laughs. “Their Dogs Are The Best People is still one of my favourite songs. And seeing Tumbleweed again is going to be great. That will be epic. And fun. And we used to do heaps of shows with Spiderbait back in the old days but haven’t seen those guys for years. And I always though the two bands worked well together.”

Andy laughs when I mention A Day On The Green will be taking place on election day in Adelaide and that those on the electoral roll will be required to vote before heading to McLaren Vale.

“Maybe we can get a polling booth set up at the winery,” he then jokes. “People could have a couple of wines before they vote.”

Prior to joining The Living End in 2000, Andy was a member of various Adelaide bands before moving to Melbourne where he played with P76, Alcotomic and Pollyanna.

“I was with Violetine for a little while too,” he laughs. “But I was playing with Polyanna, who were about to wind up anyway, when I auditioned to join The Living End. I’d been recommended to them and then, when they asked me to join, I said, ‘You’ll have to wait a couple of weeks while I finish this tour with Polyanna’. So I literally stepped off a plane from Tasmania at the end of that tour and stepped into the rehearsal rooms with The Living End.”

The Living End released Shift in 2016 and launched it in Adelaide with two huge shows at the Governor Hindmarsh, but Andy says they are already in discussions about their next album.

“We had a fairly hectic run over in America – we just got back a few days ago – and prior to that we did a couple of European tours,” he reveals. “And while we were over in America, where we did a bunch of shows with Midnight Oil, we were talking a lot about the next album.

“So we’ll be getting together to do some writing soon and then look at what we’ve got for a new album,” Andy continues. “We actually feel pretty inspired at the moment because we’ve had such a good year. I dunno, but the harder we work overseas, the more it inspires us to continue. It feels really creative and I think that has something to do with playing night after night in America.”

Andy says that while touring overseas is good, the costs are considerable.

“We don’t make a million bucks out of it that’s for sure,” he laughs. “By the time you’ve taken in all the touring costs including airfares and stuff it doesn’t leave much. It all adds up but we put together some good shows and have a pretty loyal and quite fanatical following over there which helps. “And we generally play rooms that are comparable to the Gov in Adelaide,” Andy says. “There’s a place called Slim’s in San Francisco where we usually finish up a tour that’s very much like the Gov. It’s a well-run, dedicated, live music venue. And gigs at any of the House Of Blues venues are great to play as well.”